Tag Archives: IATA

10 Things I Enjoyed On Qatar Airways

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I had the chance to finally try out Qatar Airways’ 5-star service when I flew the country’s flag carrier to the International Air Transport Association’s Annual General Meeting in Doha (read my story about the AGM here). Regular readers know I got to sample the product during a special event at Washington Dulles back in September, #DiningWithAltitude. So below are 10 things I really enjoyed about my flight.

1.  The flight attendants. After flying on U.S. carriers for so long, you get used to a certain level of service. But the flight attendants on Qatar take it to another level, with their politeness and need to be sure that you’re enjoying your flight.

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2.  The food. This was not your mother’s airline food. There were enough choices for you to eat until you burst, or go lighter. My favorites were: the cheese plate; the Arabian mezze of hummus, tabouleh and muhammara; the roasted chicken and mashed potatoes; and the roasted tomato soup.

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3.  The beverages. I won’t lie; I like champagne. Qatar had a lovely pink one from Tattingers. I also enjoyed their choice of still or sparking water, the compartment in the seat to hold bottled water, and the great assortment of teas. There was also a full complement of premium liquor.

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4. The seat. This was a lie-flat seat with a thin mattress and a comfy duvet. It also had a very relaxing massage button and lumbar support.

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5.  The lavatory. I admit it – I have a thing about using public restrooms in general (I travel with a can of Lysol in my purse) and airline lavs in particular. But the ones on Qatar were amazing. I have to think that one of the flight crew went in and cleaned regularly, because every time I used it, it was spotless.

6.  The inflight entertainment. As the mother of an 8-year-old, I don’t get to see grown-up movies very often. So I always appreciate airlines that have a full selection of movies and television programs. And when I wanted to sleep, I switched over to the jazz audio station. The noise-canceling headphones were wonderful.  I also caught up with some old episodes of “Frasier,” which reminded me of how much I always enjoyed the show.

7.  The outlets. My seat had an outlet for my computer and a USB port to charge my iPhone. What’s not to love?

8.  The arrivals lounge. After arriving in Doha, we went to a lounge where we could sit and have something to drink and eat while we were processed through Customs. I spent one minute having my photo taken and iris scanned, and that was it.

9.  The departures lounge. Well, since Hamid International Airport was only a week old when I departed, the first and business class lounges were not ready. Not only did I receive a letter of apology, but I received a $100 voucher for the duty-free store.

10.  Hamad International Airport. The airport had been open less than a week when I departed. But it was done enough to see how grand it was, with amenities including free Mac computer stations, robust free WiFi, napping rooms and great play areas for kids.

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#Flying100 – My First Flight

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A Pan Am Boeing 747-200 at London Gatwick Airport. Photo courtesy of Dean Morley via Flickr.

The good folks at the International Air Transport Association sent me an email recently telling me that Jan. 1, 1914, marked the first ever scheduled flight with a paying passenger. Throughout 2014, IATA is celebrating this milestone various ways, including a website and through the IATA Twitter account using the hashtag #Flying100.  So I’m going to join the celebration and tell the story of my first flight.

My dad was a captain in the U.S. Air Force (he stayed in for 30 years) and we were moving to Royal Air Force Mildenhall in Suffolk, England. Back in the olden days, flying was still a big deal. We were flying out of JFK Airport to London on Pan Am. My sister, 3, and I, 6, were dressed in our Sunday best — complete with hats, purses and white gloves.

Our New York cousins came to see us off at the airport, and they were also wearing their Sunday best. Back then, there wasn’t the onerous security there is now, so we were all able to walk around and go to the gate. When it was time to board the Boeing 747, I was allowed to go into the cockpit. The captain was very kind, explaining all the controls and talking about our big adventure.  That was the moment my lifelong love affair with aviation started.

So – what was your first flight like?

Best Of Aviation Queen: Does IATA Have The Answer To Better Airport Screening?

Editor’s note: I’m taking the week off for vacation, so check out some of my favorite blog posts of 2013. Airports around the world have struggled to work with their governments to to find a good balance of checkpoint security efforts since the aftermath of 9/11. The organization representing the world’s airlines weighs in with its thoughts. The post below first appeared on the blog on June 24. Enjoy!

 

The security checkpoint at BWI Airport.  Photos by Benet J. Wilson

My former colleague Lori Ranson is a respected freelance aviation journalist. She recently wrote an excellent piece for Mary Kirby’s (another great aviation journalist and former colleague) APEX Editor’s Blog entitled “IATA seeks to restore humanity to airport screening.”

Ranson went into fascinating detail about what the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an organization that represents the world’s carriers sees as the airport checkpoint of the future, first released in 2011.  In a nutshell, IATA wants to bring back the humanity in the screening process, allowing passengers to keep on shoes and jackets, and leave laptops in their bags, among other things.

“COF’s goal is to create a security framework that moves away from a one-size-fits-all approach to procedures built on a risk-management approach supported by optimising and enhancing technology, improving data management, and using biometric identification and behavioural analysis to strengthen security screening, increase check-point operational efficiency and improve the passenger experience at screening checkpoints,” writes Ranson.

When I read this, and read the words “checkpoint of the future,” a bell went off in my head. During almost six years of covering airports and aviation security for Aviation Week and Aviation Daily, that concept became a central theme for the Transportation Security Administration.

Back in April 2008, TSA announced — with a media event at Washington National Airport — that it was unveiling what it called the Airport Security Checkpoint of the Future. We were all shuttled out to an empty hangar, where we saw a mock-up of that checkpoint.  You can read my AvWeek Towers and Tarmacs blog post on that event here.  It was based on a study done by Palo Alto, Calif.-based innovation and design firm Ideo.

The concept was put in place at my hometown Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport about a month later. Elements included things designed to calm the checkpoint process, including: soothing lights; new age music and bird tweets (yes, bird tweets); profiles that personalized TSA screeners; an area to throw out trash and items that couldn’t be taken past security; and more clearly designed queues.  You can hear my 3-minute podcast on my experience going through the checkpoint here.

So IATA jumping into the checkpoint arena is interesting, since this has been the turf of the Transportation Security Administration, partnering with airports.  IATA is stepping up its efforts to test technology that weeds out “known travelers” from those with higher risk factors.  So it will be interesting to see what IATA will be able to achieve by its 2020 deadline. You can see a video on the checkpoint of the future here.

– See more at: http://www.aviationqueen.com/does-iata-have-the-answer-to-better-airport-screening/#sthash.zUwP010b.dpuf

Does IATA Have The Answer To Better Airport Screening?

 

The security checkpoint at BWI Airport.  Photos by Benet J. Wilson

My former colleague Lori Ranson is a respected freelance aviation journalist. She recently wrote an excellent piece for Mary Kirby’s (another great aviation journalist and former colleague) APEX Editor’s Blog entitled “IATA seeks to restore humanity to airport screening.”

Ranson went into fascinating detail about what the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an organization that represents the world’s carriers sees as the airport checkpoint of the future, first released in 2011.  In a nutshell, IATA wants to bring back the humanity in the screening process, allowing passengers to keep on shoes and jackets, and leave laptops in their bags, among other things.

“COF’s goal is to create a security framework that moves away from a one-size-fits-all approach to procedures built on a risk-management approach supported by optimising and enhancing technology, improving data management, and using biometric identification and behavioural analysis to strengthen security screening, increase check-point operational efficiency and improve the passenger experience at screening checkpoints,” writes Ranson.

When I read this, and read the words “checkpoint of the future,” a bell went off in my head. During almost six years of covering airports and aviation security for Aviation Week and Aviation Daily, that concept became a central theme for the Transportation Security Administration.

Back in April 2008, TSA announced — with a media event at Washington National Airport — that it was unveiling what it called the Airport Security Checkpoint of the Future. We were all shuttled out to an empty hangar, where we saw a mock-up of that checkpoint.  You can read my AvWeek Towers and Tarmacs blog post on that event here.  It was based on a study done by Palo Alto, Calif.-based innovation and design firm Ideo.

The concept was put in place at my hometown Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport about a month later. Elements included things designed to calm the checkpoint process, including: soothing lights; new age music and bird tweets (yes, bird tweets); profiles that personalized TSA screeners; an area to throw out trash and items that couldn’t be taken past security; and more clearly designed queues.  You can hear my 3-minute podcast on my experience going through the checkpoint here.

So IATA jumping into the checkpoint arena is interesting, since this has been the turf of the Transportation Security Administration, partnering with airports.  IATA is stepping up its efforts to test technology that weeds out “known travelers” from those with higher risk factors.  So it will be interesting to see what IATA will be able to achieve by its 2020 deadline. You can see a video on the checkpoint of the future here.